Author : Loree McDonald
He stood in the exact center of the house. There were three clocks on each of the four walls. He had set them up perfectly to tick at the same time and then tock at the same time. He counted the four seconds on each clock, when the fifth second came around; he switched his gaze to a new clock. He did this for the first minute of every hour and every fourth hour he would stay for four minutes.
“Evan?” His mother called from the kitchen. Evan was a perfect name. Four letters: e-v-a-n. Vowel-Consonant-Vowel-Consonant. No tall letters like “k” or low letters like “j.” He hated “m’s” and “w’s” because they were much too wide. Evan Rose… r-o-s-e. Consonant-Vowel-Consonant-Vowel.
“Evan, it’s time for dinner.” He counted the last few seconds as the second-hand ticked through the eleven, then turned at a ninety-degree angle and strode out of the room.
“What are we having?” Evan asked, careful to only use four words in his question.
“Tomato soup and grilled cheese again. I forgot to go to the store yesterday.”
“I can run to the store for some.” Eight words. Four twice.
“No, I need to get some things for the weekend anyway.”
“Okay, if you change your mind please let me know very soon.” Twelve words. Four three times.
“That’s very sweet of you honey.” She kissed his head and sat down with the two bowls of soup. His grilled cheese sandwich was cut into four perfect triangles. He grabbed his spoon and stirred the soup four times. Then he picked up a sandwich, dipped it into his soup four times, and took a bite. He took three more bites, put his sandwich down, and stirred the soup four times again.
Later that evening Evan was reading a book while his mother watched the evening news. He would read four sentences, look up, and then read four more.
“It’s eight Evan, time for bed.” She said softly. Evan looked up at the clock and waited until the second-hand reached the ten, then got up and walked to the center of the house and counted the first minute before walking to his bedroom. “Goodnight sweetheart.” Evan climbed into bed and counted the corners of his room. He fell asleep within four minutes.
It was ten o’clock and Evan’s mother was in her closet talking to headquarters.
“He’s been on four for at least three weeks. Is it time to up the dosage and see how he reacts?”
“Last time we changed it to five, he received higher mathematical scores and higher reaction scores. I feel that six might be a good change of pace. To see if his scores increase exponentially or linearly.”
“Very well, I will change the pulse rate to six.” Evan’s mother walked into Evan’s room, picked up his arm, and adjusted the settings on his watch. She listened for the six small electrical pulses to start at twenty-second intervals, and then typed in something on the keypad by his door.
“Steven. Steven. Steven. Steven.” The speaker slowly said his name over and over. Six letters.